Fitbit launches its new Versa 2 smartwatch, which features more advanced built-in apps and Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.
The company, well known for its physical activity instructors, says it wants to “make health accessible to everyone.” To do this, it seems to be banking on a two-pronged strategy that involves accessories, such as the new Versa 2 smartwatch, and the Fitbit Premium subscription service, designed to help users learn how to better care for their health and fitness.
The two approaches are not mutually exclusive. The Versa 2 integrates with Fitbit Premium, as do most other Fitbit watches and monitors. As for the Versa 2 itself, it’s a smartwatch for all (and all) that accepts voice commands thanks to Alexa’s integration.
First Impressions of Fitbit’s Versa 2
The Versa 2 is a logical continuation of the Versa, the Versa Special Edition and the Versa Light Edition. (It replaces the first while the others remain in the collection.) The design similarities extend in particular to the bracelets: you can use those of the Versa and the Versa light edition with the Versa 2.
In terms of functionality, the Versa 2 measures the same parameters: physical activity, sleep and heart rate. It syncs with the Fitbit mobile app (for iOS and Android) but you can also always check your stats and monitor progress to your daily goals on the watch itself. Fitbit also states that it will be possible to keep the screen on at all times, a frequent request from users.
One of the key features of the new watch is how it fits with certain services and apps. First of all, there’s Alexa, Amazon’s popular voice assistant. This is the first time Fitbit has integrated a voice assistant into one of its products and this is a promising move. With Alexa, you’ll be able to schedule alerts and reminders, control your home appliances, search for local businesses and get answers to your questions.
Not all of Alexa’s features are available, however. During my brief essay so far, I have noticed that it is not possible to control music playback or place calls or send messages to my contacts. You can, however, reply to incoming text messages aloud, but only when the watch is paired with an Android phone. I will know more after a detailed evaluation, the results of which I will publish here at a later date.
However, I noticed a nice new feature: the Spotify app now offers a complete feature. We can, therefore, access our playlists and control the broadcast directly from the watch. It always takes a phone to access the music itself, but Fitbit has just corrected a long-standing flaw. And Deezer works the same way, a sign of increased compatibility with streaming music services.
The Basics of Versa 2
This new watch features an AMOLED screen and a new, more powerful processor. It always offers GPS assistance and water resistance, including clearwater swimming. Up to 15 measurable-goal exercises and workouts can be hosted directly on the watch, so you don’t have to check your phone over and over again. Note that Fitbit estimates battery life at 2 to 5 days, but it can vary depending on usage, especially if the screen is turned on often.
The interface has undergone significant changes although some aspects remain familiar. If you already had another Versa model, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting used to it. There are up to 3000 apps and other display templates of the hour to customize the experience.
There is also a special edition available with two different bracelets and offered with a free 90-day fit of Fitbit Premium. Replacement wristbands are also part of the newly launched product line; Among them are models in different materials, including leather, fabric and rubberized plastic.
The new Fitbit Premium service offers a free 30-day trial of all of its functions, including tailored workouts, expert advice and more in-depth follow-up. It will be accessed from the existing Fitbit app and will cost $13.49 per month at the end of the free trial.
I will need to test the service more thoroughly when it is officially launched in the coming weeks, but the goal is to provide a more comprehensive and active approach to managing the health and lifestyle of users. This will include tips on sleep and healthy lifestyles, guided programs, tips, full workouts and more. The service will also establish a health check, developed in consultation with doctors according to the company. Fitbit believes that users will be able to pass some of this data on to their own physicians, who will be able to interpret it correctly.
Overall, the service seems quite complete, but since the Versa 2 does not have an electrocardiogram or built-in blood pressure monitor, it will be interesting to see how the service can manage certain chronic medical conditions. We’ll talk about it on this blog after its official launch.
Fitbit’s new Versa 2 will be available shortly and you can already pre-order yours, in black, petal, stone or special edition anthracite woven bracelet models.